Kathryn Farrell in Legal/Financial on June 25, 2014
Gorelick, 68, "stole from all kinds of buildings under his fiscal watch, from a luxury doorman building in Chelsea, to a Mitchell-Lama complex in Brooklyn," said Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., announcing the plea.
Gorelick admitted that beginning around December 2006, he diverted checks slated for the banking accounts of their respective buildings into his own business account. The unauthorized deposits included checks provided at the closing of apartment sales, as well as tenants' rent and maintenance checks.
To disguise the unauthorized deposits, he provided several buildings with falsified bank statements that omitted the unauthorized deposits and transfers. He additionally moved money from the accounts of several buildings managed by Saparn and deposited those funds into the accounts of other buildings from which he stole money.
First Reported Here
As Habitat first reported exclusively in November, the Manhattan District Attorney's office was then investigating a major property-management company for theft of funds. When board members learned of the possible theft, they brought what they assumed was the reserve-fund statement to the bank for confirmation. Since the board members were not signatories of the account, the bank was limited in what it could reveal. However, according to Habitat sources, bank officials did say the statement appeared to have been surreptitiously altered, which is a federal offense.
At least one board filed a
civil lawsuit against Saparn.
No ruling appears to have
been made yet on the
veracity of the complaint.
But the background facts
may provide examples of
the kinds of things that
boards should watch for.
Gorelick was arrested on Jan. 16, accused of stealing more than $600,000 from the Harway Terrace Mitchell-Lama co-op at 2475 West 16th Street in Brooklyn, which his firm managed from 2001 to 2011. According to the criminal complaint, he siphoned money into his company's accounts "either by depositing checks from third parties written to the order of Harway Terrace or by depositing checks written against two of Harway Terrace's accounts into Saparn's business accounts."
As well, he was charged with stealing more than $2 million from dozens of other buildings.
When he was arraigned in early February, Gorelick pleaded not guilty to the charges. He is scheduled to be sentenced on September 15.
As of early afternoon today, Gorelick's photo and biography remained on the Saparn Realty website. Habitat's attempts to reach the company for comment were unsuccessful.
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